Chicken and Turkey Burgers Brined with English Cheddar and Lemon Aioli

Suggested Pairing  Light, crisp pilsner.

Chicken and Turkey Burgers Brined with English Cheddar and Lemon Aioli

Servings: 6

Prep time: 2 hrs. 40 mins including brining


  • 8 cups / warm water
  • 2/3 cups / plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 Tbsp / light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp / lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), divided.
  • 1 1/2 lbs / boneless, skinless turkey pieces (such as breasts, thighs, and drumsticks), cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • 1/2 lb / boneless,skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups / chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup / chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp / chopped jalapeno
  • 3 Tbsp / extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp / finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp / finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp / finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup / mayonnaise
  • 6 oz / English chedder cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 1/4 inch thick / tomato slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger or brioche buns, split
  • 2 Tbsp / bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups / shredded iceberg lettuce


  1. Whisk together 8 cups warm water, 2/3 cup salt, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a large bowl or pot until salt and sugar dissolve. Add turkey and chicken. Cover and chill 1 hour and 30 minutes. Place a colander in sink; drain meat in colander, rinse with fresh water, and set meat aside.
    Woody's Way: Uncooked burger patties may be individually wrapped and chilled 1 day or frozen up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding.
  2. While meat chills, process onion, garlic, and jalapeño in a food processor until very finely chopped, about 10 seconds. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add onion mixture and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in parsley, oregano, and rosemary; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; transfer sofrito to a small bowl. Chill, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  3. Stir together mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon zest, and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Preheat grill to high (450°F to 500°F). Working in 4 batches, place brined meat in a food processor; pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste, about 7 (2-second) pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add sofrito; mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Shape into 6 tightly packed 7-ounce patties. Grill, uncovered, flipping often, until a thermometer registers 155°F, 10 to 13 minutes. Top each patty with about 1/4 cup cheese. Grill, covered, until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
  5. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Spread each bun with 1 teaspoon aioli and 1 teaspoon barbecue sauce. Top each bottom bun half with 1 patty, 1/4 cup lettuce, and 1 tomato slice. Cover burgers with top bun halves.